On December 15, 2023, the Florida Bar filed a complaint against Miami attorney Joseph P. George Jr. with the Supreme Court of Florida. The complaint alleges George of exploiting and taking advantage of his elderly, demented clients, surreptitiously making himself the sole beneficiary of their assets without proper consent.
The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Joseph P. George, Jr.,” with case no. 2022-70,497 (11M).
According to the complaint, the Department of Children and Families began providing services to Nancy Crooks and Larry Larsen in July 2021 after receiving a self-neglect report about the condition of their home. Zola Mae Blakeslee contacted George on August 11, 2021, to represent Crooks and Larsen. George filed a notice of appearance on their behalf and was designated by the court as responsible for acting with DCF on their protective case.
In October 2021, George gained power of attorney for Crooks and Larsen. He then had their financial advisor, American Century Investments, change their account address and beneficiary designations. As a result, George became the sole beneficiary of Crooks and Larsen’s $2 million joint bank account. However, when American Century Investments (ACI) contacted Crooks about the changes, she said she did not intend to make George the sole beneficiary.
Subsequent investigations by Adult Protective Services found that Crooks and Larsen suffered from dementia and lacked the capacity to consent to their own care. They believed George had power of attorney but did not understand how he became the sole beneficiary of their assets.
The Florida Bar complaint alleges George violated Rules 4-1.8(c) regarding gifts to lawyers, 4-1.14 for failure to properly represent a client with diminished capacity, and 4-8.4(c) and 4-8.4(d) concerning conduct involving dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
In May 2022, a new attorney was appointed to represent Crooks and Larsen after questioning their competency to sign documents provided by George. The court also authorized Adult Protective Services and found the elderly couple could not properly consent to protective services.
The complaint is requesting that the Supreme Court take disciplinary action against George, in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by The Florida Bar, as amended.
According to LinkedIn, Mr. Joseph P. George, Jr. is the owner and CEO of law firm Joseph P. George, Jr. P.A., serving Miami, Florida. He attended the Samford University, Cumberland School of Law. George acquired his law license in Florida in 1994.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.